[img_assist|nid=4075|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=130]Instantiations just recently received the IBM Rational Software Validation for WindowBuilder Pro and have also been listed in the SD Times Top 100 Most Influential Software Companies. I caught up with Eric Clayberg, a co-founder, author of Eclipse: Building Commercial Quality Plug-ins and Sr. Product Developer from the company to find out more.
James Sugrue: What are the main changes in the Ganymede-focused release?
Eric Clayberg: It’s a pretty large list of products. Certainly Eclipse 3.4 compatibility. The WindowBuilder product line has lots of new features targeted at Eclipse 3.4, such as support for the Eclipse 3.4 data-binding APIs, as well as upcoming support for the new version of GWT 1.5. The CodePro product line, our software development analytic tools, have about 100 new audit rules bringing the total to over 1000. Many of those are focused on a big push into the Java security testing area, bringing security auditing to developers desktops as they write code. We’ve added dozens of security audit rules, based on the OWASP Top Ten standards, which will enable developers to automatically detect and address security vulnerabilities as they are writing code – continuing our focus of bringing quality earlier in the software development lifecycle. It also makes us much more competitive with tools like Fortify and Klocwork.
WindowTester is getting some nice updates in terms of record and playback – it supports SWT, RCP and Swing. It’s very popular with people doing large RCP applications – BEA is one of our largest customers for that. They have hundreds of tests that they run the BEA workbench through. We also announced GEF support at EclipseCon - Record and playback of GEF-based tests is difficult, but we’ve had feedback that we handle it very well.
Since many of our customers update at their own pace, we also work very hard to make sure all our products are available on older Eclipse versions in addition to the very latest builds. When Eclipse 3.5 comes out, we’ll be keeping up with that too.
Sugrue: You’re still providing only Eclipse plug-ins rather than shipping your tools bundled with Eclipse?
Clayberg: There’s no reason for us to bundle because many of our customers use variants of base Eclipse like Rational, MyEclipse or JBuilder. We don’t want to be in the IDE business – keeping things as pure plug-ins that can install to any IDE, such as JBuilder is good. We like to stay as IDE agnostic as possible.
Sugrue: Do you have anything at the moment that’s along the lines of static analysis like FindBugs?
Clayberg: Our CodePro AnalytiX tool is one of our premier tools, which falls into that category. In the static analysis area that FindBugs and PMD exist in our CodePro product is a much stronger offering. Those other tools contain about 200 audit rules, mostly Java best practices and simple bug detection.. CodePro covers all the territory covered by those other tools, and go beyond that covering specialized frameworks like Struts, Spring, JSF, EJB and Hibernate. We’ve added a huge number of additional rules in the security category. Many of these open source tools don’t touch things like security. Nor do they have technical support.
Sugrue: What is the most popular tool in your suite?
Clayberg: WindowBuilder, our GUI building tools, is one of our largest product lines in terms of volume. In terms of revenue CodePro is probably the leader for us, because a lot of corporate shops buy it to put it on each developer desktop. CodePro is more of a direct sale – it does very well against open source tools, as well as other commercial products like Parasoft JTest.
Sugrue: Do you generate unit tests from code like JTest provides?
Clayberg: We have a very sophisticated unit test generation module with CodePro. The tool analyzes your code and generates JUnit regression tests automatically. A lot of customers use this to improve their code coverage dramatically. CodePro also includes a code coverage module for measuring. You also get a duplicate code analysis tool and a dependency analysis tool.
Sugrue: So you’re one of Oregon’s fastest growing companies? What makes Instantiations so successful?
Clayberg: Yes, that’s 3 years in a row now, and we’re in the SD Times list of the Top 100 most influential software companies for 2 years in a row. We’re one of the few companies that repeated on that list. For a company of our size that’s quite good – We have significant reach in terms of customers – a lot of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as companies of all sizes. For example, we have over 100K registered users of our WindowBuilder product.. To answer the question about why we are successful, one major reason is that we provide extraordinary levels of support and are slavishly attentive to our customers' enhancement requests. We are the definition of a user-driven company and the market has rewarded us for it.